Page 5269 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2011

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MR CORBELL: My understanding of the negotiations around the relocation of the RSPCA, which has been necessitated by the development in the North Weston area, is that those negotiations are ongoing. Those negotiations are led by the Economic Development Directorate, my colleague Minister Barr’s portfolio. But I understand that those negotiations are ongoing and the government has indicated its in-principle agreement to provide a new facility for the RSPCA within Symonston at the cost of the government, because of the requirement for them to relocate due to development in the North Weston area.

Open government

DR BOURKE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the latest open government initiatives?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. In June this year I committed the government to reforming a number of areas of government and administration to deliver greater transparency. This includes the adoption of a default position that information available to the government should be made available to the community, thereby enabling greater participation by Canberrans in the business of government.

Significant progress has been made over these open government reforms since they were first announced, including providing very significant access to government information, a new information office, a weekly online cabinet summary report, the new community engagement manual and the ICT strategic plan. Two virtual community cabinets have been held and another one will be held on Monday, 28 November. In launching the website—

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: I know that when those opposite get going it must be annoying them. Of the 10,000 hits that we have had on the open government website, I wonder how many have come from those opposite. As that would involve doing a little bit of work, maybe that is being a bit generous to them. The open government website has attracted significant attention, including viewing of the cabinet summaries and recently, of course, the new section on FOI material that has been provided on that site.

The government has always said from the beginning that this open government website, with the provision of more information, is not necessarily a free-for-all. There will be protections on certain information but, as a general rule, we believe the default position should be about the provision of more information. That includes government reports and data sets where they are available.

The new FOI website has attracted some attention in the last week or so as journalists can access information that an individual or an applicant has received. It is now provided for the entire community to access. There has been some concern raised around the level of redactions included in that FOI material. I have spent some time

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